Thirteen will be a lucky number for Stephenson County

Thank you, voters of Stephenson County! Thirteen fiscal conservatives who signed the candidate pledge have been voted into office. We will be able to appoint a fiscal conservative chairman who is a traffic cop instead of “The Boss” and begin working on the six goals laid out in the pledge. The candidates are:

District C: Ed Mulligan

District E: Bill Hadley

District F: Christopher Clukey

District G: Ashely DeMeester, Anthony Kuhlemeier

District H: Davis Schexnayder, Alvin Wire

District I: James Schultz, Ken Ward

District J: Salvatore “Sol” Detente

District K: Jim DeMeester

District L: Jerry Clay, David Martindale

Unfortunately, we won’t have the knowledge and energy of Dangerous Eight members Brenda Lee Boynton and Rebecca Quiggle on the new board. They gave it their best, and they’ve given great service to the taxpayers of Stephenson County.

I bet some of you aren’t AC/DC fans (and I’m certain some of our candidates aren’t!), but this song has been coming to mind a number of times in the past few days as we did the final work for the election. It’s not just appropriate because we worked hard, but because we have a lot of work ahead and the spirit and knowledge to get it done. If you like it, enjoy it…if you don’t, I’ll be presenting a less earthy song in my Saturday column.

The Candidate Pledge and…A cartoon penguin

At the bottom of this post, you’ll find the 2012 Candidate Pledge signed by fiscally conservative candidates who want to form a turnaround team for Stephenson County. But first, let’s take a look at a specific issue: Did you know you’re being represented by a cartoon penguin?

For years, we’ve been told we have to choose between funding NIDA at the expense of public safety and having no economic development efforts at all. We’ve been told we’re competing with every community on planet Earth for available jobs, which is true. We’ve been told that we also need NIDA and other agencies to put together a five year strategic plan or we’re just going to flail and never be a great community with wealth creation and good services. More recently, we were even told NIDA needed funding to do additional studies of the local commercial real estate environment and labor force so that their website could be a one-stop-shop for site selectors looking to move a new facility into the county.

So, what’s the problem? The problem is that as of this writing, NIDA’s website is a cute graphic of a cartoon penguin in a hard hat that reads “Under Construction.”

We really can’t do better than that?
We can do better. Twenty candidates for County Board have signed a candidate pledge laying out path to better government. Here’s the pledge, and the list of those who have signed it:

2012 Candidate Pledge

Stephenson County Board

In order to change our County for the better, the undersigned candidates pledge to support and participate in the following actions:

1. Prioritize funding for Public Safety above funding worthwhile non-government entities.

2. Establish and present a new fiscal road map leading us to a County that is financially stable and is eliminating its debt.

3. As part of the road map above, improve spending practices with the overall goal of tax reduction.

4. Design and adopt a process allowing all issues to be fully reviewed and discussed no less than 30 days prior to a final vote.

5. Encourage public comment at board meetings and other forums on every item prior to a committee and/or board vote, to rebuild public trust and create a transparent environment.

6. Collect outstanding fines and fees due the county, presently in excess of $4,000,000.

Don Kraft, District B

Ed Mulligan, District C

Rebecca Quiggle, District C

Matthew Garvens, District D

William Hadley, District E

John Koester, District E

Christopher Clukey, District F

Ashley DeMeester, District G

Anthony Kuhlemeier, District G

Alvin Wire, District H

David Schexnayder, District H

James Schultz, District I

Kenneth Ward, District I

Sol Détente, District J

Brenda Lee Boynton, District K

Jim DeMeester, District K

Denise Kinney, District K

David Martindale, District L

Norman Truessel, District L

Jerry Clay, District L

The Candidate Pledge and…a positive vision.

At the bottom of this post, you’ll find the 2012 Candidate Pledge signed by fiscally conservative candidates who want to form a turnaround team for Stephenson County. But first, let’s take a look at a specific issue: Is the road we’re following the only to have vision and make a positive change?

We have been told that for years. When the solution to our community’s problems was supposedly a new industrial park funded by six million in debt and featuring a hog slaughtering facility, those who didn’t think the plan was workable were derided as everything from Luddites to racists. In the days since, local politicians have judged people’s level of optimism and love for their community by their level of commitment to John Blum’s way of doing economic development. It reached a point so absurd that saying “We can do better than this” or “Let’s try new ideas became viewed as negative attacks on the community. Anything but “Lather-rinse-repeat” is seen as giving up and doing nothing.
But we can have a government of people with a real positive vision for Stephenson County. Twenty candidates for County Board have signed a candidate pledge laying out path to better government. Here’s the pledge, and the list of those who have signed it:

2012 Candidate Pledge

Stephenson County Board

In order to change our County for the better, the undersigned candidates pledge to support and participate in the following actions:

1. Prioritize funding for Public Safety above funding worthwhile non-government entities.

2. Establish and present a new fiscal road map leading us to a County that is financially stable and is eliminating its debt.

3. As part of the road map above, improve spending practices with the overall goal of tax reduction.

4. Design and adopt a process allowing all issues to be fully reviewed and discussed no less than 30 days prior to a final vote.

5. Encourage public comment at board meetings and other forums on every item prior to a committee and/or board vote, to rebuild public trust and create a transparent environment.

6. Collect outstanding fines and fees due the county, presently in excess of $4,000,000.

Don Kraft, District B

Ed Mulligan, District C

Rebecca Quiggle, District C

Matthew Garvens, District D

William Hadley, District E

John Koester, District E

Christopher Clukey, District F

Ashley DeMeester, District G

Anthony Kuhlemeier, District G

Alvin Wire, District H

David Schexnayder, District H

James Schultz, District I

Kenneth Ward, District I

Sol Détente, District J

Brenda Lee Boynton, District K

Jim DeMeester, District K

Denise Kinney, District K

David Martindale, District L

Norman Truessel, District L

Jerry Clay, District L

The Candidate Pledge and…is CLE kidding?

At the bottom of this post, you’ll find the 2012 Candidate Pledge signed by fiscally conservative candidates who want to form a turnaround team for Stephenson County. But first, let’s take a look at a specific issue: Is the Citizens for Leadership Excellence PAC kidding?

In newspaper ads and at least one countywide mail piece, Citizens for Leadership Excellence has endorsed a number of local candidates, claiming that voting for this slate will bring “new leadership” to the County Board, and a vote for them is a vote for “More jobs, less taxes and improved public safety.”

New leadership…from eight incumbents who helped John Blum get us into this mess?

New leadership…from candidates who are either members of a the new party founded by John Blum or are “independents” selected by the Chairwoman of that new party, as she herself told the journal-Standard?

New leadership from Sheila Hooper, who has been in office in this county since before the Disco era? There’s nothing wrong with that, but…new leadership? Really?

More jobs, from people who brought us the Mill Race cornfield and years of wasteful spending on NIDA?

Lower taxes, from the people who brought us a 26% increase in the county portion of your tax bill in ten years?

Improved public safety, from the people who cut deputies so NIDA could hold meetings? From people who have publicly mocked the idea that we should increase law enforcement staffing?

New leadership…from the same old faces and new faces that have the same old ideas?

I don’t mean to be snide, but I have to ask: Are they kidding?

For those who really want new leadership, there is hope. Twenty candidates for County Board have signed a candidate pledge laying out path to better government. Here’s the pledge, and the list of those who have signed it:

2012 Candidate Pledge

Stephenson County Board

In order to change our County for the better, the undersigned candidates pledge to support and participate in the following actions:

1. Prioritize funding for Public Safety above funding worthwhile non-government entities.

2. Establish and present a new fiscal road map leading us to a County that is financially stable and is eliminating its debt.

3. As part of the road map above, improve spending practices with the overall goal of tax reduction.

4. Design and adopt a process allowing all issues to be fully reviewed and discussed no less than 30 days prior to a final vote.

5. Encourage public comment at board meetings and other forums on every item prior to a committee and/or board vote, to rebuild public trust and create a transparent environment.

6. Collect outstanding fines and fees due the county, presently in excess of $4,000,000.

Don Kraft, District B

Ed Mulligan, District C

Rebecca Quiggle, District C

Matthew Garvens, District D

William Hadley, District E

John Koester, District E

Christopher Clukey, District F

Ashley DeMeester, District G

Anthony Kuhlemeier, District G

Alvin Wire, District H

David Schexnayder, District H

James Schultz, District I

Kenneth Ward, District I

Sol Détente, District J

Brenda Lee Boynton, District K

Jim DeMeester, District K

Denise Kinney, District K

David Martindale, District L

Norman Truessel, District L

Jerry Clay, District L

When you have to ask if it’s lying or just incompetence…

I received this email from District L candidate David Martindale. As you may know, David has been talking for years about the bad consequences of opaque (as opposed to transparent) public-private partnerships and has received a lot of votes in his district on the strength of his ideas about the proper place of government and the power of an independent private sector. So, the political action committee founded by NIDA apologists (Citizens for Leadership Excellence) has decided the best way to handle David is not to engage his ideas, but to make him out to be a liar:

WOW ! What a way to get free publicity from my competition.
I must be doing something RIGHT, as in ( Conservative )
Thanks to those who sent out a post card to district L residents.

Let me clear up some misguided comments on those cards.

Those that know me, also know what I do for a living,
and that I am frank and forthright.
Actually I am quite proud of my career.

I do practice what I preach. If you have any questions or comments just call me.
815-656-4656

Freedom Field Energy is one of my customers.

I am not a founding partner of Freedom Field Energy. This Public Private Partnership was set up years prior to them asking me to be an engineer / contractor on this project.

As an owner and employee of a business in Northern Illinois I am pleased to help any entity design or build what ever type of project the owner wants to build. The reason the owner wants to do something is up to them. We live in a free country and I support private businesses having the freedom to work with whom they want to.

On the Post Card there is a quote about the ” practicality for the average home owner “. This quote has no context, Practicality of what?
Let me fill you in. This quote is in regards to the financial pay back of a Renewable Energy Project such as solar thermal, and photovoltaic ( solar panels ). And furthermore, this quote when in context is an example of being transparent. Again I support the freedom of capitalism.

I and my company have not benefited from any Solar Rebates. Local or Federal incentives, grants or Tax Increment District’s go to the end user, or customer, not the contractor nor the engineer.
Furthermore the “Citizens For Leadership Excellence” ? that produced these post cards
could not even get my web site correct.

it is http://www.ballardengineering.com not http://www.ballarddengineeringenergy.com

Thanks for your support and remember to vote Tuesday November 6th.
David Martindale
http://www.davidvote.org

But the ABLE Team doesn’t just curse the darkness. We light candles! Here is the email I sent to Adam Schulz, who is listed as the Chairman and Treasurer of the Citizens for Leadership Excellence PAC on the documents filed with the State.

Hi Adam!

I found your CLE email address on the D-1 form you filed with the State. Thanks for putting that out there.

I wanted to take the opportunity to ask: Why is your organization is lying about Mr. Martindale (see below), or, if you didn’t lie on purpose, why is your commitment to the truth so lax that you didn’t make sure your information was accurate?

Is it because your arguments are so strong?

The good news? There is one more edition of the Journal-Standard in which you can apologize to Mr. Martindale and the voters you’ve provided false information to. Heck, you could get the J-S something this weekend and they could put it up on their website on Monday morning. Send it to Wally Haas at the Register Star and I’m sure he’ll make it a high priority. Then there’s radio…a quick call to Big Radio followed by a faxed or emailed press release would result in your sincere apology being broadcast across the region in multiple newsbreaks, reaching most, if not all, of the same people you provided false information to. In addition, if you send me an apology and clarification, I’ll put it up on the same campaign website that I’m going to point out your false allegations on. I just want to be helpful, because I’m a community-minded kind of guy.

Best of all, any voters who are thinking cynically about this mail piece (figuring it was launched late so David wouldn’t have time to fight the smear and that you guys would have told them weeks ago if you REALLY believed he is a hypocritical, lying jerk) will be reassured this was not an effort to denigrate the character of a good man, but simply the usual level of competence we’ve come to expect from the central planners in Stephenson County.

Assuming it’s legal for you to do so, I’m sure you will advise Messrs.’ Knuebuehl and Ketzel of this immediately. I’m sure that they would not want their reputations damaged by a PAC which has endorsed them sending out false information about their opponent. This would be especially sticky for Mr. Ketzel, who is a retired minister.

You and your organization have the integrity to clean up this little issue, right? Of course you do! It’s part of working better, together.

I look forward to seeing your retraction and receiving a copy I can post online.

Sincerely,
Christopher Clukey

If Mr. Schulz sends me any response, I’ll post it on this blog in a separate post.

Good Morning, Journal-Standard Readers!

Just a little note to greet those who read my letter to the J-S about the fine slate of candidates we’ve assembled. I’m glad you came by.

If you’ll look to the upper left, you’ll find a page menu with full information on the mess we’re in, the plan to get us out and the candidates who have committed to the plan. New information will be posted in this blog format that you’re reading now.

Over the next four days (and perhaps after) you can check in here for vital information about the future of Stephenson County. We really are at a crossroads, and it’s up to you folks to choose the path you want.

Thanks for visiting. We’ll talk again soon.

Finance Committee shuts down voters

Here’s a video taken at Monday’s Finance Committee hearing on the 2013 budget. This hearing had NIDA on the agenda, and the current plan is for the County to sign a contract to give them $100,000 per year for three years. It became apparent pretty quickly that Finance Chairman Forest Senn was not going to allow that annoying thing we call “democracy” to impede him. Questions from voters or other Board members were going to result in the meeting being adjourned. Watch it for yourself:

Can you believe a local PAC looking for “new leadership” endorsed half the tone deaf “public servants” on the finance committee? They would have endorsed all of them, but some of them aren’t running. At least none of these guys suggested that we eat cake.

The committee will meet again on Thursday at the Courthouse, 6pm, and have the State’s Attorney present, in the hopes that he will rule that this whole democracy thing is just too much trouble to deal with. I suggest the people show up and give these guys a wakeup call.